Saturday, October 3, 2009

Paternalism, Society's Banal "Ideal"

I believe in strong families, but unfortunately, our society has chosen other values above family values. These values have underpinned our economic prosperity and our society's flourishing materialism.

We, in America, believe in individualism, and the free market, which rewards those who persevere in their goals. This entreprenurial spirit has blessed us with many technological advantages, that have made our society more convienient. And convienience has led to our "way of life" in pursuing leisure activities. This is good and bad for our society.

While I believe that the family is the most important focus for society and human flourishing, I also believe in individuality, independence to pursue one's goals, and the free market economy that makes for prosperity.

Many think that paternalism is the way for society to function. These believe that society's institutions of government and Church should underwrite and provide for families. I do think that there should be a "safety net" for those that find themselves in circumstances beyond their control. But, I do not think that govenment or Church should underwrite irresponsibility in financial or human affairs.

Paternalistic attitudes, whether through the 'welfare state", "discipleship programs", or "elite intellectualism" is a bane on the "ideal" society, because it limits growth of individual participants in society at large. Those who are "leaders" in paternalistic and patroninzing environments must have a grandoise sense of "self". Paternalism determines goals "ahead of time" to insure "outcomes", instead of allowing human freedom, decision, and commitment. Paternalism undermines human choice, individual differences and true justice.

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